October 6-13, 2016, Pastor Robert Van Horn and his wife Lana traveled to our branch church in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico to help celebrate their 4th anniversary since they initially formed. Joel and Judith Houts, members of the SDB church in Pataskala, Ohio, were called to plant a new church when they relocated to Puerto Rico in 2012. Pastor Robert & Lana Van Horn went down for a week in October 2012 to hold evangelistic meetings and the church has been active and growing ever since. On January 2nd, 2013 the Puerto Rico group gathered for an inauguration of the church and a baptismal service for their first five members in the ocean. And the church has been active and growing ever since!
In addition to Pastor Robert & Lana, there were also two other visitors representing the Seventh Day Baptist denomination. Pastor John Pethtel, SDB Director of Church Development and Pastoral Support and Pastor Helmer Umana, chairman of the SDB Hispanic Ministries Council also visited for the celebration.
Friday evening there was a worship service at the church to begin the Sabbath celebration. (Seventh Day Baptists believe in observing the Sabbath from sunset Friday evening to sunset Saturday evening.) The Friday evening worship service featured several interpretive dance presentations.
On Sabbath, there was an unexpected interruption in plans when Lana Van Horn fell and broke her patella (knee cap) going down some steps in the morning. While Lana spent the rest of the day in the local medical facility receiving treatment and waiting (a lot), the regularly scheduled services continued led by other members of the church.
On Sabbath, there were also recognition and prayer for three members of the church who have been called to leadership positions: Maritza (Figueroa) Gonzalez, assistant pastor with a 2 year licence to preach; Alex Joel Nunez Agudo, faithful deacon and , and Ruth Russel, “Foot Soldier” for exemplary dedication to God’s service. Lana had also made beautiful scarves for the women in the church and those were handed out and happily modeled by those receiving them! There was also an inflatable jump house for the children to enjoy during the Celebration too!
On Sunday, a men’s retreat was held with one baptism performed by Pastor Robert Van Horn and Pastor Joel Houts. The man baptized was involved with the initial group when they started in 2012, but wanted to wait for Pastor Robert Van Horn to be the one to baptize him. As John Pethtel was taking pictures at the baptism, he also fell and “accidentally” took a picture of the clouds. If you look close, you’ll see a figure in the clouds watching over the group during the baptism.
Monday, there was a seminar on Healing and Deliverance which was led by Pastor Robert Van Horn. At one point, Pastor Robert was surprised to also fall out of the chair he was sitting on. Prayer support within and for the group by many kept the Kingdom work moving forward in spite of “would-be” road blocks that kept coming up throughout the celebration events!
Tuesday was the soonest Lana could get back to see the specialist about her knee (it was a long weekend celebrating Columbus Day and the doctors were not available). Sh
e was able to get a full length hard cast put on her leg to immobilize the knee for travelling. She would need to have a surgeon look at it when they returned home for surgery (which she ended up having on November 20, 2016).
On Thursday, Pastor Robert and Lana headed back home to Pataskala, Ohio. It was a trip filled with God’s hand at work in ways we don’t understand or control, but it was a good trip following God’s leadership!
See more pictures below: